You might just want to go read his blog instead of mine, but Mike Todd of Waving or Drowning has a an excellent and funny paraphrase of the story of the Rich Young Ruler. He calls his “translation” The Massage: Because It’s All About Me. I hope Mike doesn’t mind my posting it here, but again I refer you to his blog well.
|Mark 10:17-22, From The Massage-Because it’s All About Me
(A Paraphrase of the Bible by Mike Todd)
As he went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?”
Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honor your father and mother.”
He said, “Teacher, I have-from my youth-kept them all!”
Jesus looked him hard in the eye-and loved him! He said, “There’s one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me.”
The man’s face clouded over, as this was the last thing he expected to hear. Suddenly, he had an idea.
“But Teacher, what if we try this: I’ll stay here with the way things are, I’ll keep all my stuff, and I’ll tell people it’s a blessing from you! It’s a win-win for both of us-I get to maintain my lifestyle, and you end up looking good! What do you think?”
Jesus pondered this and said, “Well, I hadn’t thought of that. Give me a second.” After a few moment’s reflection he turned to the man and smiled.
“Deal!” Jesus exclaimed.
And the man went away rejoicing and praising God, as he was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.
With apologies to Eugene Peterson and thanks to Derek Webb.
Eugene Peterson is probably best known for translating a paraphrase of the Bible called “The Message.” What is perhaps not as well known is that he pastored a church for 29 years, and that he has now written a memoir titled The Pastor. Here’s a passage that occurs early on that I found rather provocative:
Men and women who are pastors in America today find that they have entered into a way of life that is in ruins. The vocation of pastor has been replaced by the strategies of religious entrepreneurs with business plans. Any kind of continuity with pastors in times past is virtually nonexistent.
The Pastor and Me
From Eugene Peterson via Darryl at Dying Church
American pastors are abandoning their posts, left and right, and at an alarming rate. They are not leaving their churches and getting other jobs. Congregations still pay their salaries. Their names remain on the church stationary and they continue to appear in pulpits on Sundays. But they are abandoning their posts, their calling. They have gone whoring after other gods. What they do with their time under the guise of pastoral ministry hasn’t the remotest connection with what the church’s pastors have done for most of twenty centuries.